Astronaut Sues Over Bulova Ad Campaign | Courthouse News Service
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Astronaut Sues Over Bulova Ad Campaign

One of the pioneers of the Space Age claims two prominent jewelry companies are ripping off his likeness in order to move watches.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – One of the pioneers of the Space Age claims two prominent jewelry companies are ripping off his likeness in order to move watches.

Col. David Randolph Scott, the seventh man to walk on the moon and the first to drive on it, sued Bulova and Sterling Jewelers, formerly known as Kay Jewelers, in federal court, saying the companies collaborated to use his persona to sell a watch they developed.

"Defendants misappropriated plaintiff's name, image and likeness in promoting, marketing and selling the Bulova Special Edition Moon Chronograph for defendants’ own commercial purpose and benefit," Scott says in the complaint, which was filed Jan. 27.

Bulova's moon watch was designed to replicate the ones worn by astronauts on the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, of which Scott was a part. Scott's beef is not the watch itself, but the use of his likeness on marketing materials used to hawk the watch.

"Plaintiff is readily identifiable from the marketing material itself, which prominently displays photographs of plaintiff on the moon in his NASA space suit," the complaint says.

The materials also use Scott's name and references his title as the Apollo 15 mission commander. Scott says he did not give permission to use his likeness, and expressly warned the companies not to use his likeness in the marketing or advertising of any of its products.

Scott said the unauthorized use of his likeness is an invasion of his right to publicity and will also harm the commercial value of his name and likeness should he choose to use it for other purposes.

Scott, a native Texan, was part of the third group of astronauts selected in October 1963 as America's fledgling National Aeronautics and Space Administration was just getting off the ground both literally and figuratively.

Scott made his first flight into space in 1966 alongside Neil Armstrong as part of the Gemini 8 mission, marking the 12th manned spaceflight in history.

He visited space a second time in 1969, serving as a command module pilot for Apollo 9 – an important mission in the Apollo series that provided NASA with vital information regarding the operational performance and reliability of lunar module propulsion and life support systems.

In 1971, Scott made his last mission into space, this time making it all the way to the moon. After executing a moon landing, Scott took the Lunar Module, a vehicle designed for traversing the moon's surface, and became the first person to drive on any terrestrial body other than Earth.

Scott and his fellow astronauts spent 18 hours driving, conducted a survey of the southeast edge of the Sea of Rains and collected 180 pounds of lunar surface materials.

Scott is now 84.

He seeks punitive and compensatory damages along with an order barring the jewelers from using his likeness. Scott is represented by Robert Mezzetti in San Jose, California.

Sterling Jewelers declined to comment. Bulova did not return an email seeking comment by press time.

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